Publication details

From Communal Meals to Religion: Networking Social and Cognitive in Agent-based Simulation


HAMPEJS Tomáš KAŠE Vojtěch

Year of publication 2016
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description Scientific study of religion is characterized by various analytic reductions, usually focusing either on social or psychological dimension of the phenomenon. To avoid this bias, we are adopting the method of agent-based modelling of generative social science and consider religion as an emergent macro-phenomenon, being a product of dynamical interactions of micro-constitutions (beliefs, practices, artefacts and human agents). In other words, we treat religion as an instance of configuration of aspects from both psychological and social dimension in particular social situation. To demonstrate fruitfulness of this approach, we introduce a computational simulation of early Christian meals. Because a set of beliefs or an exclusive adherence to a group alone are inadequate indicators of religion in antiquity, the situational setting of communal meals appears to be a promising point of departure. Instead of just summing up the effect of these aspects, simulation method enables to study their constitutive interplay over time. Since it seems that the main challenge for the project of explaining religion lies in finding appropriate relationship between its social and psychological dimension, we conclude with possibilities of their analytical separation or integration and use our model to demonstrate advantages of different strategies.
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